NEW YORK >> U.S. stocks are higher today as technology and industrial companies, banks and retailers all make modest gains. Drugmakers and other health care companies are trading lower. Companies that make opioid pain medications are down sharply after the government released a much higher estimate of the costs of the ongoing addiction crisis.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,583 as of 3:10 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 82 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,440. The Nasdaq composite advanced 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,791. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,500.
TECH TIE-UP: Chipmaker Marvell Technology Group said it will buy competitor Cavium for $6 billion in the latest deal in the semiconductor industry. Cavium climbed $7.36, or 9.7 percent, to $83.19 and it’s up 22 percent over the last two weeks on reports Marvell would make a bid. Marvell rose 95 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $21.24.
Other technology companies climbed as well. IBM added $2.12, or 1.4 percent, to $151.09 and Cisco Systems gained 58 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $36.48.
RETAIL RISING AGAIN: Retailers continued to move higher. They climbed last week following solid quarterly reports from Wal-Mart, Gap and Ross Stores. That’s given investors hope that shoppers are ready to spend more money. Home improvement retailer Home Depot rose $2.76, or 1.6 percent, to $170.50 and clothing company PVH rose $2.81, or 2.1 percent, to $135.93. Sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports, after a 15-percent surge on Friday, added $2.30, or 13.5 percent, to $19.40.
THE QUOTE: With the holidays approaching, trading will probably be muted this week and investors are turning their attention to 2018. Jeff Kravetz, regional investment strategist for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management, expects more gains for U.S. stocks, but thinks indexes in other parts of the world will do better, as they’ve done this year.
“We’ve got developed markets working and we’ve got emerging markets working,” he said. “This is just a wonderful year for international markets after a bit of a drought.”
GENERAL ELECTRIC SLIDE: Industrial companies rose, as 3M gained $2.26, or 1 percent, to $231.62 and Boeing added $2.60, or 1 percent, to $264.28.
General Electric missed out on those gains as investors continued to wonder about the company’s direction. On Sunday the Wall Street Journal said that directors with energy and financial backgrounds, as well as GE’s two longest-tenured directors, are likely to leave the board as it shifts its focus away from those industries. The company said earlier this month that it will reduce the number of directors to 12 from the current 18.
GE lost 15 cents to $18.06.
DRUGMAKER DOWNTURN: A White House group said the opioid drug epidemic cost the U.S. $504 billion in 2016, far larger than other recent estimates, and companies that make those pain medications traded sharply lower.
Last year a separate estimate said the crisis cost the country $78.5 billion in 2013, including lost productivity and health care and criminal justice spending. The Council of Economic Advisers said the new figure reflects the worsening crisis and that earlier figures didn’t calculate deaths or include the use of illegal drugs.
Allergan gave up $3.44, or 2 percent, to $171.44 and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries fell 72 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $13.12. Insys Therapeutics shed 17 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $5.20. Executives including Insys’ founder and its former CEO have been charged with offering kickbacks to doctors to get them to prescribe its fentanyl spray Subsys. Its stock traded above $40 in mid-2015.
MERCK-Y FUTURE? Merck stumbled after Genentech, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche, reported positive results from a study of its drug Tecentriq as a primary treatment for lung cancer. Genentech said patients who were given Tecentriq as part of their treatment regimen were less likely to die or see their cancer get worse.
The results could affect sales of Merck’s drug Keytruda and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo. Merck fell $1.07, or 1.9 percent, to $54.14 and Bristol-Myers Squibb lost 51 cents to $60.81.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 46 cents to $56.09 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, dropped 50 cents to $62.22 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline remained at $1.74 a gallon. Heating oil lost 1 cent to $1.93 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 5 cents to $3.05 per 1,000 cubic feet.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.68 yen from 112.13 yen late Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1731 from $1.1796 after a group of German political parties couldn’t agree to form a government, which might mean new elections are on the way. A weaker euro is good for companies that export a lot of products, and the German DAX was up 0.7 percent while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain added 0.2 percent. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 0.6 percent and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.2 percent.
BONDS: Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.37 percent from 2.35 percent.
METALS: Gold slumped $21.20, or 1.6 percent, to $1,275.30 an ounce. Silver sank 53 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $16.84 an ounce. Copper gained 3 cents to $3.09 a pound.